Remember back in the 80s when movies got a bit raw and edgy? Some of the movies we enjoyed as kids probably shouldn’t have been rated PG since there was some material that slipped by that a lot of us either didn’t understand or was a little more mature than we were ready to see. It wasn’t horrible most of the time but it was certainly the type of stuff that parents these days might think twice about letting their little ones watch. Just imagine what kids ask their parents about now when it comes to movies and TV and then think about what they would ask about watching some of these older movies. Now that I think about it though I still believe that some of these could have landed a PG-13 rating or more, but they still would have been okay for a lot of kids to watch. After all, it’s up to the parents to teach a kid what to emulate and what not to at certain ages, meaning that it doesn’t matter what a movie is rated. Here are a few 80s movies that probably should have been upgraded from the PG rating right from the get go:
The scares in this movie weren’t quite enough to give kids nightmares but the innuendo is definitely something that might have bumped it up a rating, especially since there are people these days that are gladly ripping the movie apart for its content. Maybe if it would have been anything above a PG rating it would have been left alone, but then again maybe not. That being said there were moments when the sexual innuendos and the subject matter was a bit risky for ages 11 and down since, being a young kid at the time, there were a lot of things that I didn’t fully understand until I grew up. And when I did I just shrugged and went about my business.
4. Better Off Dead
Janet Maslin of The New York Times doesn’t seem too impressed with this movie but quite honestly it’s a more low-key affair in Cusack’s history than most despite being pretty funny. It’s also pretty dark if you think about it since he’s attempting to commit suicide after his girlfriend dumps him and it’s being treated like a joke. Honestly this is what keeps it light and funny but it almost feels like this would bump the rating up in this day and age since people have seemed to lose their sense of humor over the years and don’t think that some things are particularly amusing any longer unless they’re done just right.
The scares and the use of the occult, however brief, should have bumped this one up another rating at least. if you’ve seen the remake then you already know that they went straight evil on the most recent version of this movie. But the original seemed to try to be keeping it light and somehow family-friendly despite the fact that there was a poltergeist that STOLE the family’s youngest child. That alone seems to indicate that the spirit is malevolent as hell and not there to play games. But then of course the whole face-peeling in the mirror should have been enough to warrant the bump in the rating too.
Subject matter is often enough to get a rating bumped up since depending on what it is people don’t want to act like a movie is a kid’s movie unless it’s all cheery and chipper with only a few dark clouds to darken the day so to speak. But while things have gone up and down in this regard this movie seems like it flirted with that edge quite a bit and got away with it. One has to imagine that the kid in this story was a bit traumatized after a while and had to be consoled after every take in order to keep him from freaking out continually. Overall it was a great movie, but it does feel like they squeezed themselves into a PG rating somehow.
If there’s one person in all of Hollywood that knows how to get away with language, subject matter, and just about anything else, it’s Mel Brooks. In the movie he gets away with plenty of profanity and even gets away with an f-bomb near the end of the picture that some people don’t seem to remember. Don’t get me wrong, this is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time and I’ll gladly defend that to the death, but the fact that it was rated PG means that back in the day the censors were obviously reading a magazine while sorting through films trying to dish out ratings and deciding what could pass and what couldn’t. It’s about the only explanation that fits really.
All of these movies are still great, but how they were allowed to be PG is a mystery.